Happy Halloween

With it being Halloween and a Friday I think most of us can agree that today is pretty spectacular. Personally, I will be teaching some yoga with spooky Halloween inspired music and then heading home to hand out treats to kids.  Being in school for holistic nutrition I definitely thought of finding something a little less sugar/high fructose corn syrup filled for the kiddies, then I thought “naw I don’t want my house to be egged”.

halloween 2This holiday brings to mind the struggles of finding your healthy eating groove and that balance between maintaining healthy living with indulgence.  To help get me back on track (the last probably 2 months have been somewhat of a train wreck for me) I bought the trick or treaters candies that don’t appeal to me, that way it can be in the house and I can walk past it without wanting to stuff my cheeks like a chipmunk preparing for winter.

chocolate factoryI have also been sure to have multiple healthy snacks ready at hand in case I get an extreme case of munchies. I figure if I have something healthy from the savory and sweet categories I have little to no excuse not to pick something healthy instead of going and buying a bag of chips. This often helps but sometimes my cravings get the best of me.

Seeing how my cravings have been getting the best of me lately I have been working on letting go of the feeling of guilt.  Guilt for failing myself, my students and my clients and instead just realizing and honoring that I am human, like my students and clients and we all have good days and bad days.

If you have been reading my blog for a while you know that encouraging positive self talk is something I have been working on for some time now, and unfortunately for me it doesn’t come easy.  However, like will power and other muscles in our bodies the more we exercise something the stronger it becomes.   It is becoming easier and easier to catch myself in these downward spirals of negativity and hurtful and doubtful self-talk which is making it easier for me to take the few seconds I need to address my negative thought and move on.

I know my writing has been sparse and for this I apologize but I have taken on a lot for the next little while and unfortunately something had to give (I am coming to the realization that I am no kind of superhero).   So I will continue to post, and when I have food delicious enough to share I will share it, but please bare with me and maybe for the month of November join me on a little challenge.

mjfoxI am challenging myself for the next month to work on acceptance.  This means working on my need to control most things (okay everything), understanding and respecting that everyone has a different way of doing things (even if that means not hollering at the bad drivers on the highway), respecting my limitations and being grateful for my strengths as well as my weaknesses.

So I hope you join me on this challenge.  Perhaps acceptance isn’t something you need to work on but there is another aspect of your life or thoughts that you would prefer to work on.  Either way make November about self-acceptance, self-love and self-care.

Happy Friday Everyone! and Happy Halloween!

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It’s More than just Physical

Throughout my life I have struggled with accepting my own accomplishment and have even found it difficult at times to graciously accept a complement. Over the past few years this has been something I have really worked on about myself. Through my regular yoga practice, my running and my lifting I have found small and some not so small portions of my life that I was able to find tangible accomplishments as a way of practicing my gratitude.

Being able to assign a number, measurement or flexibility range to “progress” made it easier for me to physically observe and enjoy my accomplishments. Yet over time of doing this type if physical life based accomplishment/reward system I began to notice I was  obsessively tracking and I was missing out on all that my accomplishments could be.

20140420-100840.jpgI think for me when I began to go deeper into my yoga practice I started peeling off the superficial layers of my accomplishments and my view of them started to shift.  Sure it feels great to do a yoga pose I have always found challenging and adding another 20-50 pounds to a lift doesn’t feel so shabby either, but I began to realize it was more than just the physical. Yes, of course all my yoga practice is making my shoulders look great and those dead lifts are providing some perkiness to my butt, but this whole journey/ adventure has become so much more.

Over the past two years I have done detox diets, juice cleanses, insane workouts, yoga teacher training, etc. etc. But what really came out of all of this has been an incredible sense of self and confidence, something I had believed to be lost not too long ago.

20140716-080300-28980516.jpgIt has been through my exploration of my physical changes that I have learnt how to stop and take it all in and to at times turn inwards.  Sometimes these little journeys inward aren’t always the most fun thing in the world and this is likely why it has taken me so long to open up to the idea of self exploration in more than just a physical sense.

I think as humans it is easy for us to sit there looking at our external appearances and to judge (ourselves and others). I believe it takes some time to feel comfortable and confidence enough to stop and look at our person not as someone with a long yoga body or a six pack or a perfectly balanced macro diet, but as the sum of that and our nature, love and humanness.

Although my realization of this has not make the struggle to acknowledge this in myself much easier, it does provide me with the comfort of knowing there is much more than just my physical accomplishments.

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All of this to say it is important for all of us where ever we are in our lives to take a second  to honour who we are, what we have accomplished and all the good that we can do for others. Although our physical accomplishments demonstrate amazing resolve and determination they are not the sum of all of your parts.

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

Earn it! Own it!

Learning to own your success is something that maybe not everyone struggles with but it is definitely something I need to stop and take a minute on at least once a day.

I am not talking about walking around the office, classroom, bus, mall or any other populated area like a peacock, rustling my feathers in everyone’s face. What I am talking about is owning my success much like how I readily own my failures. Instead of boosting about how I messed up my clean eating maybe I should pat myself on the back for the solid 70 days I did before the crazies really started to set in.  Or being excited that I got out running three days in a week when really I should have done four.

I’m sure/ I hope I am not the only one that is somehow more readily able to admit a fault/failure than my potential successes. I mean I know I work and study my butt off but if I were to vocalize that to someone I would some how feel like I was bragging or rubbing it in or whatever. Where as talking about my faults forget about it I could list those off for days, especially if it was going to make someone else feel better about their precieved short comings.

What I am realizing the more I blog, the more I share through Facebook, twitter and instagram and the more I take the time to journal for my own personal stuff is that others seem to be more interested in hearing about how I succeeded at something rather than how I may have failed miserably.  Sure I think it is good to have a balance of what I share and I think it is important to admit fault because it shows that I am human, it also hopefully demonstrates my growth in this health journey of mine.  But I am still learning/struggling with patting myself on the back and allowing myself to feel pride to the fullest of its extent.

So here are some steps I have been taking for the past, oh I don’t know forever now that might help you if you are like me and have a difficult time finding all the wonderful in yourself.

bekind.jpg1. Enough with the negative self talk already!  It isn’t getting you anywhere and it is probably making you feel worse than you did when you started off.   Take a second to analyze (I strongly recommend journaling for this) what you are saying, what sparked that thought, if it something you say to yourself often, and then answer this “how has repeatedly saying those negative things actually helped you to progress in your goals?” Chances are once you get through this process you will realize that all of those thoughts have done nothing but hold you back, calling yourself “fat” or telling yourself that you aren’t dedicated enough to your workout routine, your healthy eating regiment, studying, relationships, etc. likely hasn’t gotten you very far in being a happier healthier person.

goalgetter.jpg2. Stop, would you talk like that to a friend? I LOVE this tactic because I actually have to make myself stop and assess what is going on.  I have to make myself think “Would I ever actually sit here and list off all the failures of someone else to friend?”  or better “Would I ever list a friend’s failures?” Although I share my setbacks with all of you on my blog, I share them as learning tools and to let you know what I have learnt from the experience.  Although I think it is healthy to understand when you haven’t quite made the “cut” I also think it is important to understand everything that went into that outcome, including all of the effort that was put into working towards a goal so that you can learn from it and build, not tear yourself to bits.

3. I tell myself nice things. Oh goodness *eye roll*.  Yeah it sounds super cheesy but based on my experience if you are waiting/relying on others to tell you nice things you could be waiting a REAL long time.  So start taking a moment (once again in a journal) to write down the amazing things that you are, you do and you will become.  You become what you say and believe. If you believe you can’t run a 10k race then well you can’t, the first step in any process is to believe that you can do it.  So tell yourself some nice things and believe those nice things.

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4. You probably aren’t a failure.   This one might seem weird, but a lot of the time when we start something, let’s take weight loss as an example, and after a month of sticking to a plan if we haven’t dropped 20 pounds and developed a six pack we jump to this idea of being a failure.  Maybe we think we are failures because we are doing the same plan as someone else and well they have a six pack, so you must have failed right? NOPE! not the case, we are all made different which means we will all take different paths to our optimal health.  It also means none of us will ever look the same.  So instead of labeling yourself a failure and giving up on your goals, focus in on the things you have achieved and remember as long as you keep trying failure isn’t even in the cards for you.

5.  Allow yourself to celebrate.  Once you achieve something celebrate it, don’t sweep it under the rug, focus in on the things you could have done differently to get their faster or shrug it off in favour of lifting someone else up.  You have worked hard and you deserve to be proud of yourself and to celebrate all of your successes.  That celebration can be anything, a new pair of running shorts, heading to the movies, or sharing your success and excitement with a friend, just do it! You deserve to be excited and to share your accomplishments with others.  Chances are if you choose to share your success you are going to motivate someone else to stick to their goals and to keep moving forward too.

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I have found these little steps super helpful in allowing myself to be proud and excited about my own personal successes and I hope you find them successful for you too.  Even if you don’t have a hard time owning your success give this a try it might help you find a bit more light and positivity in your life.

Happy Friday the 13th everyone! I hope you are having a great day!

Weekend Round Up

This weekend was a bit more laid back than normal because of my knee blues, so instead of my regular Saturday morning workout I slept in a little before heading over to my client’s house for her early morning session, before heading back home to go over my notes for Rock n’ Roll yoga that afternoon.

My yoga class this week was a bit smaller than the previous week but it was great because it gave me the chance to be a little more hands on with the students.  It is great how each class is different and how I am starting to feel more and more like I am in my own skin while I help to guide the students through their practice.

yoga legs

After yoga I headed home to relax before getting ready to head out and see some girlfriends.  It had been a while since we had had the chance to hang out together.  It was a fun group of women some of which knew each others others who were meeting again for the first time.  I always have such a blast getting to meet new people.   After a fun filled evening with some wonderful women I headed home to unwind and say hello to some of the boys that were hanging out at my place having their own style of evening hang outs.

Sunday I was up early and heading off to the grocery store to get ready for the food prep of the day.  I am going to be honest I got a little lazy with food prep yesterday, leaving a lot of it for today, but with the help of my wonderful husband we were able to get our lunches prepared for the week, we just have to make breakfasts and snacks which should only take about 30 minutes once I put my mind to it.

All in all it was a pretty great weekend.  I am looking forward to this week, learning how to workout without agitating my knees and getting ready for my next yoga class.

I hope everyone in the Ottawa area bundled up today because it is getting chilly out there again.

Happy Monday!

At it Again

For as long back as I can remember I have struggled been challenged with problematic knees.  Most of the time I take solace in knowing that there are definitely individuals out there having much more difficulty with their knees than I am, so far no surgeries have been required so I really try not to complain.  However, after almost a full year of a pain free existence having my knees starting to speak up again is completely aggravating.

I think the most annoying part through all of this is having to go to the doctor.  After a good but not particularly “over” strenuous leg day I was unable to straighten my right leg due to knee pain so I finally caved and made a doctor’s appointment to get it checked out.  I find that I often go to the doctor for these issues and either get passed around to a million different doctors or specialists or  I am given the advice of stretching.  It is kind of like when you are sick but the doctors have no idea what is wrong so they tell you it is a virus and there is nothing that they can do so you should stay hydrated and rest.  Such an unsatisfying answer, well that is what it generally feels like when I get my knees checked out.

Anyways, perhaps you are wondering why I am writing about this?  Maybe you are wondering if I am just going to complain and whine for the next 500 words, but don’t worry I won’t.  My knees and I have issues but there is no need to take up more time than necessary complaining about it here, that is why I have a loving husband, he gets to listen to me wine and complain, and gets to smell my Rub A535 and Icy Hot knees.

I am writing about my knee pain as a bit of a reminder to take care of ourselves. Now I am a self professed “stick-to-it-ness-er” (yup made that word up), and I am pretty sure I always have been. I often like to see exactly what I can get out of myself before I absolutely have to back off.  I know it isn’t always the best approach and I am working on it, constantly reminding myself that recovery is just as important as progress, in fact recovery is essential to progress.  Although I do feel that it is essential to push yourself and encourage yourself to go places where you are unsure of success it is also important to stop and take care of yourself.

In my case I have continued to workout but kept an eye on my knees. I try my best to be gentle while still making sure I am pushing myself where I can, without pain.  The “without pain” is the key here.   I have said it before and I will say it again, it is so so very important to listen to your body and to hear what it is saying.  Listening is useless if you aren’t going to let yourself hear what your body is talking to you about, this is a lesson that I have learnt the hard way and in the past has cost me several days, weeks and months of training.
Race StretchingI am stressing the importance of listening and hearing pain because pain is there to stop you from injuring yourself more than you are potentially already hurt.  Yes, sometimes there are situations where it “hurts” (ex: foam rolling) however something that hurts or feels uncomfortable isn’t always necessarily “pain”.  So it is important to identify what pain actually is.

Here are some tips at identifying pain that might help you be a bit more open to listening to your body’s signals, especially if you are stubborn like me.

pain

  1. Categorize the pain. Is it a stretching pain? is it a stabbing pain? burning? pulsing?
  2. Rate it.  On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “this itches” to 10 being “I can’t walk someone please help me”.  You pain index shouldn’t ever go beyond a 7, even with stretching.
  3. Pay attention to it.  Don’t ignore the pain signals, acknowledge what is going on, maybe mark it down in your workout program or your day planner.  Trying to narrow down what is causing the pain can help you avoid it in the future or correct the issue in the present.
  4. Rest it. The pain signal could very well be your body asking for a break.  So rest it, ice it, elevate it, do something that feels good to that pain.
  5. See a doctor.  If your pain isn’t letting up it is time to seek professional help, sure it is annoying sitting in that waiting room, but your doctor hopefully knows more than you do about the body and should be able to help you find a solution.

I hope these tips help you next time you are experiencing some discomfort.

Happy Wednesday!

Note:  Although seeing a doctor is listed as the 5th element on this list this does not mean Gingersneezes.com is recommending that seeking a doctor’s recommendations be left till the end, nor is it meant to symbolize an order of importance.  If you are concerned about any aspect of your health and fitness please seek advice from a healthcare professional.

Clean Eating – Giveaways

So folks it is finally here Gingersneezes’ very first giveaway!  I couldn’t be more excited especially because of who is donating the prize!  Seeing Gingersneezes is doing a 50 day Clean Eating challenge the prize is completely perfect!  The generous people over in Tosca Reno’s shop have donated an AMAZING gift filled with a bunch of clean eating essentials!

I figured now would be a great time for a giveaway to help pump up all of your motivation to stay on course.  I find that generally speaking heading into week three of something can be pretty challenging.  Week one you are all full of motivation and energy to succeed, week two you are starting to feel some positive effects of your lifestyle change, and then week three sinks in.

It is a point in a lifestyle change, a cleanse, or some type of challenge where your motivation may have dwindled a bit, you might be struggling with overcoming a barrier you haven’t ever had to face. You may be feeling like you have been so good so you deserve your sugary, processed food you normally have on Friday nights. Or that perhaps just a couple drinks won’t be so harmful to all the progress you have worked for.  I find it is at this point where you really need something to keep you going and keep you focused on what you goals are, why you started this challenge and why you wanted to commit to it 100%.

_DSC0141This giveaway is inspired by the Gingersneezes Eats Clean challenge but it is open to any of my readers and hopefully this will inspire you to try the challenge for yourself, we are 16 days in but it is never too late to start!

_DSC0141I have made you all wait long enough, what could you win? Well you could win an Eat-Clean Diet and Raw Elements Inc sponsored goody bag!  The goody bag includes Tosca Reno’s favorite Sunwarrior supplements, a special recipe from Tosca and two titles from Tosca Reno’s best selling Eat-Clean Diet series!

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And now for the important part…How do you win?  It is simple, in the comments below answer the following questions….What is your favorite clean eating treat? or What processed food do you find yourself missing the most?

The winner will be selected at random on the 31st of May, the winner’s name will be posted on the site so that I can get in touch with them for shipping information.  Although the grand prize will be selected at random I may be giving away some extra little goodies for originality and enthusiasm. I can’t wait to see what you have to say!

Happy Thursday Everyone! I hope you are all gearing up for a nice May 2/4. 

*I have not tried any Sunwarrior products as previously mentioned in a post, so you will have to get back to me on what you think of it.

Weekend Round Up – So Sunny

This weekend was glorious, not only did it mark the end to my week without being allowed to exercise (doctor’s orders), it was also my hand balancing class and the beginning of the farmer’s market and it was the first weekend during the Gingersneezes Clean Eating Challenge! With so much going on I wasn’t quite sure where to start, so I figured the beginning would probably be best.

Friday night started off with me heading on over to the gym to solidify some training plans. After 6 months of regular personal training I am really enjoying continuing my workouts solo, and having a lot of fun pushing myself. However after getting really hooked on strength training/ functional training I decided to keep my progress moving in a forward motion and to get some personal training session to keep me motivated and progressing. I won’t be doing personally training three times a week like I was but instead I will just have a couple of sessions at the beginning of each phase to set me up and keep me on track.

When Saturday rolled around I was up and out of bed before 8am (I suck at sleeping in) and I started my morning off with a spinach and plumb smoothie, followed by renting a cargo van for two purposes:

  1. to get a new futon
  2. to clean out the over cluttered garage (totally blanked on taking pictures of this, we were way too in the groove to stop and snap shots).

Saturday CollageAfter braving Ikea on a Saturday we successfully escaped after selecting a new futon for our smaller spare room. Then it was time to get rid of some trash, which included the old run down futon, and about 5 years of clutter that we had collected in our garage. Now you can actually see the floor! It is pretty fabulous. While my husband headed over to the dump with our van full of trash, I decided to see how difficult building the Ikea futon was going to be, turns out not hard at all. Took me just about an hour to put the whole thing together on my own, and it was quickly approved by Lola.

Hand Balance Collage

I finished building the futon just in time to pack up for the yoga workshop on hand balancing. The workshop was really interesting, not what I was expecting but completely awesome anyways. I am someone that has yet to learn how to feel comfortable upside down, so it was a really interesting course. It was great because the yoga teacher came at it from a bit of a different angle which was refreshing. She spoke of functional training exercises and the need to find a balance between yoga flexibility and muscular strength in order to find a healthy balance in a handstand. There were a lot of exercises that I was totally not expecting, but all in all a great way to spend 2 hours on a Saturday.

Once I finished up my workshop I went home to get ready for a nice date night with my husband. We had some delicious brown rice sushi for supper, followed by some fun movie watching. It was a perfect ending to a bit of a busy (but fun) day.
Sunday CollageAnd then SUNDAY!!! Normally I am not a huge fan of Sundays because well that means the work week is about to start and that is never a fun thing, but this Sunday was the first Farmer’s Market of the season! I was so excited to get out there, buy some locally raised, hormone free meat, and whatever produce were available, luckily we found some AMAZING looking asparagus, I can’t wait to eat it. Before heading over to the farmer’s market, my running buddy Susan and I decided to lace up our shoes and go for a nice long run. This is something we started doing in the fall last year, and it is a welcome addition to my weekend routine that is for sure.

run So Susan and laced up and headed out for a 10.75km run, it was our longest of the season so far and it felt amazing. It was one of those runs where at the end I felt like I could just keep going and going, although I am sure my legs are super happy today that I did stop when I did.

R&R Collage

The rest of the afternoon was spent doing some food prep (clean eating BBQ sauce! so tasty), stretching, some more stretching and then just some hanging out on the patio taking in the sun and the warmth. The weather is starting to get me excited for the summer! I hope the beautiful weather keeps coming!

Last little thing before I end this novel of a post. Congrats to everyone who made it through their first weekend of clean eating! It might have hurt to not have a beer and sit on a sunny patio but I am sure you body is happier for it. I for one am bursting with energy today! After some yoga and running and fueling up with delicious fresh and healthy foods my body and soul couldn’t be happier and hopefully you are starting to feel some really positive benefits from this challenge (less bloated, skin clearing up, more energy, etc.) also.

I hope you all had some wonderful weekends, and those of us going back to work today, I hope it isn’t too rough. Happy Monday!